Subway vote eyed by TTC

The Toronto Transit Commission is considering asking council to put a referendum question on this November’s municipal election ballot asking if the city should raise taxes by one per cent a year over the next three years with the revenue going to transit, reported The North York Mirror April 11. Commission staff has proposed an expansion that would see the Sheppard line extended eight kilometres east to the Scarborough Town Centre at a cost of $1.8 billion and the Spadina line extended 6.2 kilometres north to Steeles Avenue/York University at a cost of $1.2 billion.

‘Zigzags’ on policy hurt airlines, economist says

Ottawa’s recent “zigzags” on airline policy and its history of meddling in the industry for political reasons have contributed to Air Canada’s slide into bankruptcy protection, says Fred Lazar, economics professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business who is widely considered one of the deans of Canadian aviation economics, reported the Toronto Star April 11. Lazar recommends capping airport fees in his study, “Turbulence in the Skies: Options for Making Canadian Airline Travel More Attractive,” written for the C.D. Howe Institute. He concludes that airport authorities across Canada are monopolies with too much market power and should have their fees regulated to protect consumers. Canadian Press April 10 quoted Lazar as writing in the study: “A minimalist approach by Ottawa, including staying away entirely from the bankruptcy-protection process for Air Canada, would be the most prudent course for the government to follow.”  The Vancouver Province and the National Post also carried stories April 11.

Fix the military, says Granatstein

In a story on Canada’s “crippled” armed forces in Alberta’s The Report April 14, military historian Jack Granatstein, distinguished research professor emeritus at York University and Chair of the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century, disagrees with Norman Spector, a former ambassador to Israel and chief of staff to former prime minister Brian Mulroney, that Canada should focus on intelligence gathering. “That’s what a privy council office boffin would say, not someone who frankly understands the world. It takes a long time to fix a military; it takes forever to build an intelligence organization. It is infinitely more sensible for us to rely on our friends to do it, who have a history of doing it, who have put the money into it, who, if we are willing to co-operate in other areas, will share that with us.”

Superior arms do not equal political success

An editorial April 12 in The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, says this is no time for gloating now that Saddam has fallen, and holds up forgotten Afghanistan as a cautionary tale of a country in shambles. The writer quotes modern warfare scholar Gabriel Kolko, distinguished research professor emeritus at York: “The US has never been able to translate its superior arms into political success.”

Student’s exhibit turns gallery into house of play

Using the popular childhood toy G.I. Joe as a point of departure, P. Roch Smith’s artwork delves into issues of play, gender and memory, said a The North York Mirror review April 11 of Smith’s current exhibit at the Art Gallery of York University. Smith is completing his master of fine arts at York University.

On air

  • Fred Lazar, economics professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, discussed how air travel is controlled and facilitated in Canada on “Calgary Today” (CHQR-AM),Calgary, April 10.
  • Amer Salih, an exchange student at York University, tells radio reporters he is happy at the outcome in Iraq where his family suffered under Saddam Hussein, in reaction stories April 9 on “Noon News” (CFAX-AM), Victoria, on “News” (CHUM-FM), Toronto, and on “680 News” (CFTR-AM), Toronto.
  • Daniel Drache, political science professor at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies and director of York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, discusses the feasibility of a security perimeter, and criticizes Ontario Premier Ernie Eves for interfering in foreign policy and tabling the budget in a car-parts building owned by Frank Stronach. Drache spoke on CBC’s “Here and Now” in Toronto, April 9.
  • David McNally, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, is featured on coverage of a teach-in against the war in Iraq at Sudbury’s Laurentian University, on “Evening News” (CKNY-TV), North Bay, April 9.
  • The Williams sisters will play in Toronto at the Rogers AT&T Cup Tournament at York University, reports “Studio Aperto” (CFMT-TV), Toronto, April 9.
  • “Global News” (CIII-TV) April 9 mentions that the TTC wants to extend the subway to York University and Scarborough Town Centre to ease gridlock.
  • Leslie Greenberg, psychology professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, discusses the importance of forgiveness in relationships, on “Daytime” (ROG-TV), Toronto, April 9.